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How Far Are We In The Search For Alien Life?

How Far Are We In The Search For Alien Life?

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First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 05:19 AM EDT
The vastness of space makes people on Earth wonder if there is a similar planet somewhere in the universe.
(Photo : NASA | Getty Images)

In a Scientific American post, astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz shared the progress of the researches done in the past that lead to the search for biology beyond earth. The astronomer discussed the discovery planet that revolves near the stars in the galaxy which appear as tiny red dots here on Earth. Unfortunately, the conditions here lowly suggest that life could have thrived in it. This eliminates almost 70 percent of the total planets in a milky way galaxy from the list of potential planets that could carry life.

She also mentioned about Fermi paradox which gives probable causes why we still haven't encountered extraterrestrial life. It stated that if intelligent life existed, it could already be encountered by astronomer since they could probably be colonizing planets from a different solar system. Or maybe technological prowess of these alien civilization still does not permit interstellar travel, just like in the Earth's case.

A research mentioned regarding Proxima Cen, the closest star system to our solar system. Using MOST satellite, they quantified how much energy do the flares emit to the rocky planets surrounding it. It concluded that Proxima produces an average of 66 flares per Earth day and about 8 superflares (high energy radiation much stronger than regular flares) annually. Which regardless to say, is impossible for life to thrive.

Walcowicz further explained that there has been no deliberate attempt to solely search for extraterrestrial intelligent life. If there was, it had limited resources and time. There may have been NASA space explorations like the Kepler Mission and planetary observation using massive telescopes like the Hubble, but these were not enough to give an affirmative confirmation if the Earth is the lone planet to accommodate life. If asked, is there is an alien life? So far, the answer is no. But just like any scientific inquiry, there is no such thing as absolute. As Walcowicz put it, "Otherwise, our assumptions about the completeness of our search, the universality (or not) of the values we hold, and our inability to communicate even with species we share the same swimming space with, will blind us to the possibilities- and limitations- of what we might come to know about life in the universe."

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